DC Comics Convergence: Guide to What to Read Before: Week Four

Friday, December 05, 2014

It's Week Four, the final week of our Convergence coverage, where we look at what DC Comics trade paperbacks and collections lead in to the Convergence miniseries that DC announced this week.

I was pretty on the mark with my guesses last week that this week would spotlight DC's Silver Age Justice League "Crisis"/Multiverse stories that pre-dated Crisis on Infinite Earths this week. We've got representation from Earth 2, Earth 3, Earth 4, Earth S, and Earth X, though I was wrong about the inclusion of the Batman of Earth 5. I am glad to see spotlights not just on the Justice Society, but also Infinity Inc., and also Infinity Inc. stars Huntress and Power Girl in their own Convergence miniseries.

Here's the run-down:

• Justice Society of America (Dan Abnett)
• Crime Syndicate (Brian Buccellato)

What to read:
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 1
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6

Probably the latest-most appearances of the Multiple Earths-era Justice Society is Infinity Inc. Vol. 1: The Generations Saga, which collects that series's issues just prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths. The classic Justice League/Justice Society team-ups, however, including the introduction of the multiple Earths and "Earth 2" concept," can be found in the Crisis on Mulitple Earths series of books. Because each volume deals with different Earths, these will be sprinkled throughout this list, but the first volume is a good starting place both for the Silver Age introduction of the Justice Society. The very earliest individual-character team-ups, like the first meeting between Earth 1's Flash Barry Allen and Earth 2's Flash Jay Garrick, can be found in the Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups volumes.

The Earth 3 Crime Syndicate (who've re-appeared in a number of continuities, including Grant Morrison's troublingly-named JLA: Earth 2 and the recent Forever Evil) also first appeared in a story collected in Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 1. They battle the Justice League and Justice Society in Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6 as well.

• Infinity Inc. (Jerry Ordway)

What to read:
Infinity Inc.: The Generations Saga
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 5

It's a thrill to see Jerry Ordway, noted artist of the classic Infinity Inc. series, involved with this book, though I dare say I wouldn't have minded seeing him pencil it as well. Irrespective, one can catch up with Infinity Inc. with the sole collection of this series. DC solicited a second collection but later canceled it before publication; I can only hope that maybe if people buy the heck out of Convergence: Infinity Inc., maybe we'll see that book solicited again.

Infinity Inc. apparently fights Jonah Hex in this one; Hex meets the Justice League and Justice Society in Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 5.

• Detective Comics (Len Wein)

What to read:
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 2
Huntress: Darknight Daughter

It's similarly interesting to see long-time Batman and Detective Comics scribe Len Wein writing Convergence: Detective Comics. Given the presence of Huntress Helena Wayne in this one, though, it's surprising the book didn't go to Huntress-creator Paul Levitz, who's instead writing the Convergence: World's Finest Seven Soldier's story. Regardless, the second volume of Crisis on Multiple Earths includes the first appearance of the grown-up Earth 2 Robin Dick Grayson, and Huntress: Darknight Daughter collects Levitz's Silver Age Huntress back-up stories.

• Action Comics (Justin Gray)

What to read:
Power Girl

In the way that all of this week's books deal with some of the same time period, there's some overlap; case in point, both Huntress and Power Girl can be found in the Infinity Inc. trade. The Earth 2 Power Girl's Silver Age origin from Showcase Comics is reprinted in the Power Girl trade that came out just before the series by Jimmy Palmiotti and Convergence: Action Comics-writer Justin Gray.

• World's Finest Comics (Paul Levitz)

What to read:
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 3

The classic Seven Solders of Victory cross over with the Justice League and Justice Society in a story collected in Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 3. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe the Seven Soldiers exist on a different Earth in this one, just that they're time-lost.

• Blue Beetle (Scott Lobdell)

What to read:
Crisis on Infinite Earths

Though this is called Convergence: Blue Beetle, it actually seems to represent DC's Charlton characters -- Question and Captain Atom, at least. The Charlton characters joined DC very late, such that the main pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths appearance of the Earth 4 iteration of these characters is actually Crisis on Infinite Earths; after Crisis, they were retconned as being originally from the main DC Earth.

• Shazam (Jeff Parker)

What to read:
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 4

At first I thought it was Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil and Bone's Jeff Smith writing this one, but it's Jeff Parker -- maybe not as headline-making, but the Aquaman scribe is OK, too. The Silver Age Justice League and Justice Society first encounter Fawcett's Marvel characters, now of Earth S, in Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 4.

• Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters (Simon Oliver)

What to read:
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 3
Showcase Presents: All-Star Squadron Vol. 1

The Freedom Fighters from Earth X meet the Justice League and Justice Society also in Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 3. The Silver Age Plastic Man appears alongside other heroes of this era in Showcase Presents: All-Star Squadron.

• Booster Gold (Dan Jurgens)

What to read:
Justice League International Vol. 1: The Signal Masters
Justice League International Vol. 2: Breakdown
All Star Western: Gold Standard

Though this is listed as a "Multiple Earths" book, my guess is the Booster Gold here is the New 52 Booster Gold, so required reading would be Dan Jurgens's two volumes of Justice League International, which finished with Booster involved in a time-crisis. True completists might want Booster's appearance in All-Star Western, but the Dan Jurgens-penned books ought be good enough. Now, if this turns out to be some pre-/post-Flashpoint Booster Gold hybrid, the Geoff Johns Booster Gold series might then come in to play.

So that does it for DC Comics's Convergence announcements. I'm more excited about some of the upcoming weeks than others, but all in all I think DC's done a pretty good job of covering their various eras here; at least one I might have liked to see was an immediately post-Crisis on Infinite Earths week, using the Byrne-era Superman, Perez-era Wonder Woman, Miller-era Batman, etc. Any eras or titles that you think DC missed with Convergence?

Check out my previous weeks' Convergence Reading Guide features. Thanks!

Week One
Week Two
Week Three
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1 comment:

  1. Hmm, I wonder which one of these is on my must-read list... could it be the one that actually as Al Rothstein on the cover for the first time since JSA ended?

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